The Wall Street Journal Reports: “Lars Johnson Has Goats on His Roof and a Stable of Lawyers to Prove It “


“Lars Johnson Has Goats on His Roof and a Stable of Lawyers to Prove It —
Having Trademarked the Ungulate Look, Restaurateur Butts Heads With Imitators.”

The article discusses how a simple marketing idea of goats on a roof (which is simply a typical practice in some countries can be trademarked as a restaurant marketing symbol. The restaurant has filed lawsuits to enforce these claimed trademark rights against other restaurants which it claims copied its idea. The article states:

Any other business thinking of putting goats on the roof will have Mr. Johnson’s lawyers to contend with. A goat named Flipper stood on the grass roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant.
Some patrons drive from afar to eat at the restaurant and see the goats that have been going up on Al Johnson’s roof since 1973. The restaurant 14 years ago trademarked the right to put goats on a roof to attract customers to a business. “The restaurant is one of the top-grossing in Wisconsin, and I’m sure the goats have helped,” says Mr. Johnson, who manages the family-owned restaurant. …

Last year, he discovered that Tiger Mountain Market in Rabun County, Ga., had been grazing goats on its grass roof since 2007. Putting goats on the roof wasn’t illegal. The violation, Al Johnson’s alleged in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, was that Tiger Mountain used the animals to woo business. …

Danny Benson, the offending market’s owner, says that “legally we could fight it, because it is ridiculous.” But it would have been too expensive to fight, he says.

To read the full article which gives insight into how even what appears to be a less than novel concept can lead to litigation click here.

Based in Chicago and Oak Brook, Illinois, Lubin Austermuehle represents clients in trademark infringement litigation throughout Illinois, the Midwest and the United States including in Naperville, Highland Park, and Geneva. Our Chicago business attorneys represent businesses of all sizes, from family-owned small businesses to large corporations and partnerships. Our Hinsdale, Illinois trade libel attorneys also handle related claims of online defamation of a product, service or business, as well as unfair competition and other business claims. If your business is facing online infringement and unfair defamation of your products or services, we can help. To set up a consultation with one of our Chicago business law attorneys, to learn more about us, please contact us online or call us toll-free at 630-333-0333.

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